Ambulance Staff Attacked - drink and drugs to blame

280 agressive or abusive incidents were reported by EMAS Accident and Emergency crews during 2009-2010.

84 assaults were repoted to the NHS Security Management service for information and further action. A spokesman for the Ambulance Service told Capital that prosecution numbers are continuing to rise.

Last year 93 sanctions were obtained against those assaulting or abusing staff - which the service say

"hope will convey the message to the public that abusing or assaulting EMAS staff is not acceptable - and we will take action".

It's also emerged that drugs and alcohol were identified as influencing factors in 149 of the reported incidents.

A paramedic we spoke to told Capital he wants people to take responsibility for their actions, and says being abused really does have an impact:

"you would never refuse to treat someone because of that, but it does wear a bit thin - its very difficult to turn off from whats just happened - we're all professional enough that we can do it - but this week of festivities no longer becomes a festivity for us."